Introduction: Tiny House 'Garage'

I have spent the past 5 months building myself a tiny house.

With the limited space that goes with living in a tiny house I wanted to make somewhere to store all the dirtier things. Such as muddy boots, camping gear, wet-suits, etc - the things that people normally keep in their garage.

The solution I have come up with is to build a small 'garage' box on the drawbar of my tiny house. This space will also be used to hide my hot water heater and store gas bottles.

I have tried to build this box all out of left over materials from my main build, which I have mostly done, although I did end up having to buy a few little extra things.

I have thoroughly enjoyed this project as it virtually goes through all the same steps I used to build the main building but on a smaller scale, making it more manageable to write about.

Step 1: Plans

The first thing I did was to measure how big the box could be, dictated by the size of leftover materials, and where it would sit.

I then went to the computer and put the measurements into a Google Sketchup model. Here I played around with a few designs but ultimately went with a very basic form.

The main decisions I made were a roof pitch of 15 degrees and offset doors to keep away from where the jockey wheel sits on the drawbar.

I didn't follow these plans perfectly but found doing this a really useful process in visualizing how to put everything together.

Step 2: Framing

Using my adjustable square I set it to 15 degrees to make all the slanted cuts.

I then cut all my framing pieces following the plan I had made, laying them out as I went.

To join them I set out each frame on a flat floor and screwed it up using a large square to make sure the corners were 90 degrees. Screwing things together here was probably overkill but I decided to just follow what I had done with my main build.

Step 3: Attaching Floor

I cut a piece of plywood 600mm by 1200mm to fit my dimensions and marked on it where the walls went.

I placed the walls on their backs and screwed the plywood on the bottom, lining everything up to my marks.

Step 4: Flashing Under the Floor

Because the 'garage' will be on a trailer I need to flash the underneath of it to protect against mud and stones etc. To do this I used a sheet of galvanized tin leftover from from flashing under the main house.

I cut it to size with a pair of tin snips.

Next I covered the whole underside of the plywood floor with damp proof course (DPC) to make sure the wood does not come in direct contact with the metal.

I then attached the tin with metal screws with neoprene washers.

Step 5: Support Beams

As the drawbar sits below the wall of the tiny house I propped it up to the right height with some support beams made out of treated lumber.

I clamped and screwed them in place along the two long edges.

Later I decide to add an extra support beam down the center for strength. And boards on the two shorter sides for looks more than anything. It would have been much easier to attach these before the garage was in place so I have included the step here.

Step 6: Framing Around Doors

I cut and fitted all the boards to frame around the door openings.

I pre-drilled holes in all the boards on an angle before putting them up to make it easier to hold and screw.

Step 7: Back Wall

One of the few extra things I needed was some plywood to line the back wall, as this side wouldn't have exterior siding.

This I cut to size and clamped and screwed in place, pulling the framing into square as it was a little out.

Step 8: House Wrap

Next I wrapped the whole thing tightly in some left over building paper, overlapping it well at the back.

Using some flashing tape I stuck the whole lower edge of paper to the underfloor tin flashing.

Step 9: Roofing

I measured and cut some roofing leftovers to size with tin snips.

As the ridges didn't work out perfectly I bent up the flat on one end with a ruler and pliers.

I measured and cut some roof paper to size and attached it to the roof before screwing the front edge of the iron down securely. I didn't attach the back edge as the apron flashing was yet to go on over it.

I then bent up the flat on the top edge with pliers to make sure no water would get under to the building if it did manage to travel up under the flashing.

Step 10: Attaching in Place

This step is pretty straight forward. I cut open the paper at the door opening and screwed the garage to the tiny house through the studs.

Step 11: Corner Flashings

I had some left over flat soaker flashings which I bent in half with a bit of banging and pushing and pulling to make into internal corner flashings. I put these in place with a nail or two along with some left over external corner flashings for the front corners.

Step 12: Cladding 1

The cladding on the side walls had to go up now before I could finish flashing the roof to the tiny house.

Using the same 15 degrees I cut the boards to fit and treated all the cut edges before hanging.

Step 13: Trim Boards 1

Following the same process on the main build I made all the trim pieces out of boards that had been charred and oiled in the process known as Shou Sugi Ban - a traditional Japanese method of charring cladding that preserves and emphasizes the beautiful grain of the timber.

With a blow torch I burned the boards until well blackened. Then with a stiff plastic brush I scrubbed off all the loose char and then washed it clean with water. Once dry I applied linseed oil to all sides and let dry. And then screwed it in place.

Step 14: Barge Flashings

I didn't have any left over barge flashings from the main roof but had some left over galvanized tin from the underfloor.

Following the same pattern as that on the roof of the tiny house I bent to tin to shape. Next I primed it and painted it with the same color to match the roofing material.

Step 15: Apron Flashing

I found an old apron flashing left over from something else but in the wrong color, so I cleaned it all up and painted it to match.

I left it long to fold over the sides and cut it to fit snugly to the tiny house.

I also put a bitumen foam strip in under the flashing to further prevent wind driven rain from getting under the roof.

Step 16: Cladding 2

I made a little sketch and carefully measured the front wall to cut out the cladding.

In order to cut the inside corners I drilled some holes side by side and used a hole saw to begin the cut.

Once I was happy with how my pieces were fitting I treated all the cut edges and clamped the sheets in place for easy screwing.

Step 17: Doors

I cut two rectangles out of the cladding making sure to allow a 2mm gap on either side for opening and closing, and making sure to line up the grooves on each piece to the fixed cladding.

To strengthen the doors I used some left over cavity batten laying it out like the cross beams on a barn door. At the last minute I added two short bits to make a diamond at the top to match the mountain pattern on my led-light windows.

Step 18: Painting and Staining

I painted all the cross beams white to match the windows on the tiny house.

I had some galvanized hinges which I primed and then painted black. I was a little worried about the paint seizing up the hinges so I made sure to move them while the paint was drying and they were fine.

I stained the doors before attaching the cross beams as it would have been difficult to do so afterwards.

Step 19: Trim Boards 2

I had to cut a notch out of the front corner trim boards because I had accidentally not made the barge trim pieces long enough.

I followed all the same steps in burning and oiling the boards as before.

Step 20: Finished (for Now)

I intend on putting in some shelving, using a finish to seal the inside from wear and tear, and adding some small bolts top and bottom to keep the doors closed.

But for now, as I have plenty of more urgent things to finish on my main build, I am happy to have the exterior of my box all finished and waterproof.

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